Winter blooms of Noctiluca scintillans may be disrupting the marine ecosystem
MODIS-Aqua Ocean Color Data/NASA
Masses of plankton add swirls of green to the blue waters of the Arabian Sea in this February 3 snapshot from NASA’s Aqua satellite (Iran and Pakistan at top of the image; India, to the right). Most of the vibrant color probably comes from algae living in the single-celled bodies of the dinoflagellate Noctiluca scintillans.
N. scintillans started appearing in the Arabian Sea in large numbers in the early 2000s, blooming in the winter months. It seems that the plankton, which love low-oxygen waters, have made a happy home in the increasingly oxygen-poor Arabian Sea, says marine ecologist Joaquim Goes of Columbia University.